Archive for the tag “surprise”

2 Tall Sushi

It was a week ago tonight that I drove into a nearby and charming neighborhood in an area of Milwaukee outside of my typical 3 mile radius to join some friends for a new dining experience. My friends Mike and Ericka purchased an in-home six-course sushi dinner for eight people at Next Act Theatre’s Bravo event last summer, and they were kind enough to invite me to join in on the fun.

Of course,  I had to have a little fun with the theme!

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The dinner would be prepared and served by “2 Tall Sushi” – a team of wonderful folks that offer up dining experiences to raise money for non-profit and charitable organizations.  They each have their day jobs, but enjoy giving back to the community by sharing their talents in the kitchen!

We started off with small talk, meeting new friends, and sipping on various pre-dinner drinks.

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Then, as we sat down at a beautifully dressed table, we were served edamame, both standard style and marinated (yum!). An exquisite asparagus dish followed. Such amazing flavor! And, then…Miso soup (which will become my new go-to for a healthy, yet filling dish).

I may not get the exact order of the evening correct – it’s been a full week, friends! 😉 But, I think the tempura came next. Absolutely delicious broccoli, shrimp and more – lightly battered to perfection!

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After that, the gluttony began (at least for me – I don’t turn down sushi or maki!).

First, please allow me to share this photo of my friend Mike (not the host Mike, but the fellow guest Mike)…

12593967_10207199226433019_6295581923090998342_oWithout exception, all of the diners’ tastebuds, sinuses, and tear ducts were surprised by the “hidden” wasabi in the sushi that was served up prior to the maki. As we would quickly discover, our chefs added wasabi between the seafood and the rice.

As I always do, unknowingly, I loaded up my sushi with wasabi (on top of the seafood), and took a big bite. And…WOW! I managed it, but not without serious clearing of my sinuses! (our li’l secret: I liked it!)

In my haste to exchange my dying phone for a new one, I think I accidentally lost the sushi pics. Sorry, folks! Aside from the hidden wasabi, they looked like traditional salmon and tuna sushi.

Following this sushi course, our servers allowed us to have a nice pause for lovely cup of tea.

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And, then came the maki…  Spicy tuna, rainbow roll, spider maki, and Unagi (with double servings of a few of these – because they were THAT GOOD!).

By this time, we were all feeling satisfied and full. The only dish left… You guessed it – dessert! Green tea ice cream!

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After dessert, we chatted, exchanged stories, laughed (there is likely a sitcom coming out within a few years that I will key y’all into – MUST SEE TV based on the stories told over this dinner), and just had a great time enjoying the company!

Y’all KNOW I had a good time when I didn’t even begin to head home until after 9:30PM on a Sunday night. I’m lame, and I don’t stay up that late!

Who could leave when the food was so excellent, the company was both lovely and hilarious, and the cause was such a good one?!?

Here’s to supporting the arts in Milwaukee (thank you, 2 Tall Sushi!), and to enjoying quality time (and really good food) with great folks!

Cheers!

Ker

 

 

 

Lunching and Brunching in Milwaukee

This past weekend was a bit decadent for me. No real “working”, and lots of quality time with neighborhood friends.

On Saturday, my neighbor Andrew and I decided to head to The Historic Third Ward for a late lunch (mostly due to the fact that I indulged in a late morning nap!). Andrew suggested trying Swig after reading about it on Urbanspoon. I had heard of Swig and had passed by the place, but hadn’t stopped in yet, so I was game!

Natural light by way of a garage doorfront.  Mixed media decor. A nice, comfortable vibe (IMO).

Natural light by way of a garage doorfront. Mixed media decor. A nice, comfortable vibe (IMO).

Swig has a rustic modern casual vibe and because we were lunching at 2:30PM on a Saturday, the place was fairly empty. Andrew and I were seated at a table near the fireplace (the thing I miss most about my last apartment!) and greeted warmly by Kate, our server for the afternoon. I immediately liked Kate because she had spunk! As Andrew contemplated having a drink, Kate quickly called him out about enjoying the weekend – and soon after he was enjoying a Ginger Old Fashioned. Kate: 1, Andrew: won!

Ginger Old Fashioned

Ginger Old Fashioned

I was impressed, and overwhelmed with the menu.  I knew that I wanted a house salad – I needed my veggies!  Beyond that, I could have chosen almost anything!  The two items that bubbled to the top of the list for me were the Brie Grilled Cheese (I LOVE Brie, and I haven’t had it in quite some time) and the Crab Cake appetizer.  If I’m *really* honest with y’all, the baked Brie appetizer was appealing as well!

Long story short, I asked Kate to surprise me by choosing between the two and by choosing a flight of wine for me to enjoy along with the chosen meal.  She was on board from the get-go.

*side note: At Swig, you may choose your own flight of wine (three 2oz glasses – of your choosing) and then a 5 oz glass – all for $15. 

There was no way that I was going to be able to choose a wine flight with so many options from which to choose!

Borgo Pinot Grigio, Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc, and Crème de Lys Chardonnay.

Borgo Pinot Grigio, Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc, and Crème de Lys Chardonnay.

An incredibly tasty house salad (and only $4.50).

An incredibly tasty house salad (and only $4.50).

The house salad was loaded up with veggies and topped with parmesan cheese.  And, the dressing was AMAZING!

An amazing sweet and spicy apricot vinaigrette dressing!

An delicious sweet and spicy apricot vinaigrette dressing!

Kate gave me an idea of how to make this apricot vinaigrette, and after lunch Andrew and I promptly walked to Oro di Oliva in the Public Market to buy the appropriate vinegar!

Andrew decided to go “Ahi all the way”, with the seared tuna, arugula, and avocado salad with chimichurri sauce.

Seared Tuna salad with lots of avocado!

Seared Tuna salad with lots of avocado!

I was envious of all of the avocado that accompanied the beautiful seared tuna!  We both thoroughly enjoyed our salads, and probably could have stopped there, as they were generous portions.  But, we didn’t!

Kate brought me the crab cakes small plate.  These meaty crab cakes were covered in panko crumbs, sat on avocado puree, and were covered with roasted corn relish (another fave!).

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Like I mentioned, these were meaty (real) crab cakes.  The flavors were mild, but really tasty, and the wine paired beautifully with the dish.  For my 5 oz pour, I decided on the Crème de Lys Chardonnay.

Andrew stuck with the ginger Old Fashioned and had the Ahi tuna sandwich which had spring mix, red onion, wasabi aioli, and tomato cucumber salsa on it.  It was a big, and beautiful sandwich! Andrew said he liked that it had the teryaki flavor to it, making it a different experience from the salad he had just enjoyed.  The tomato-basil soup looked pretty thick and tasty as well!

IMG_1477[1]We ended up enjoying a few adult beverages and just hanging out on a Saturday afternoon.  After hitting up the Public Market, we stopped in at Hudson’s Business Lounge – simply because Andrew had never been in there.  It’s a cool shared space office building that my work team had used last year for an off-site working session.  There is a full bar attached, so we spent a few minutes there before calling it a night.  Nothing like a five-hour lunch!  🙂

Then, in a blink of an eye, it was Sunday!

I had previously made plans to have brunch with my friend Katie on Sunday morning.  The original plan was to head to the Hotel Metro because I love their breakfast and Katie had yet to experience it.  However, after talking with a colleague about Black Sheep, we decided to head down to Walker’s Point and hit it up.

We arrived just as the doors opened and found a small high-top table for two – which was a good thing since the place filled up pretty quickly!

After day-drinking with Andrew the afternoon before, I wasn’t sure I wanted to have a drink with brunch, but the list was intriguing.  After tasting the Wolf’s Spiked Tea, and having our server Corrine hint that there may be maple in it, I decided to head in a different direction and ordered the 2nd Street Cup (Canton, cranberry, lemonade and champagne), and after striking out twice with her orders (due to missing ingredients), Katie ended up choosing the Perfectly Peared (Belle de Brillet Cognac, pear nectar, and champagne).  Both were refreshing and light – and didn’t taste too heavy on the alcohol!  And, through the tea-tasting, Corrine learned of my disdain for maple (and she shares it due to a bad experience in the past!  I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE!!)

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The 2nd Street Cup in the foreground and the Perfectly Peared in the background.

As I perused the brunch menu, I couldn’t find any item that was off-limits, and so many things looked yummy.  Corinne was on board for choosing just as Kate had been the day before.  And, she made a great choice for me!  Lobster Benedict, which consisted of poached eggs, lobster meat, arugula, hardwood smoked bacon, tomato confit and hollendaise sauce all atop brioche toast.  Did I mention it was a decadent weekend?  😉

Lobster Benedict

Lobster Benedict

Katie chose what I learned is a Wisconsin staple:  Hot Ham & Rolls – which is a Parker House roll with shaved smoked Berkshire ham, maple butter (ick!) and two eggs. Though Katie mentioned this was a simple dish, she also said it had really good flavor.  We also agreed that Black Sheep’s fries were excellent – crispy and flavorful.

Hot ham & rolls.

Hot ham & rolls.

Both Swig and Black Sheep are local spots that I plan to revisit, especially since we didn’t try any of the wines on tap at Black Sheep!

Do you have a favorite daytime destination?  Please feel free to share in the comments!

Cheers!

Ker

 

A Super Supper at Sara’s Place, Gates Mills, OH

I’m back in Ohio for the holidays, and for the past several years, we have taken the opportunity to have a nice family dinner at Sara’s Place in Gates Mills – a cute spot in a quaint area.

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One of the many nice things about Sara’s Place is that they offer a wide variety of gluten-free entrees.  My brother has Celiac’s disease, and my uncle has a gluten intolerance, so Sara’s Place offers more options than most restaurants do these days.  

This year, we dined at Sara’s Place the evening after Christmas. A lovely Friday night out.

The atmosphere at Sara’s Place is casual, yet elegant.

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One of the unique features I love is that the kitchen is separated from the restaurant by handmade stained glass windows which reflect the local area.

The view to the kitchen

The view to the kitchen

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On Friday evening, I was HUNGRY, as I had been running around all day, including playing school with my god-daughters!

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I *may* be an overachieving student!

At one point, during the “school day”, I was asked to do 30 full push-ups for phys ed class!  And, I did them – straight through – after a morning workout, no less!  I was working up an appetite.  🙂 My Purium apple-berry shake was my only meal of the day at that point as well.

So, when we got to Sara’s Place, everything looked good to me!  The Ahi Tuna, the (healthy option) Stir Fry,  the homemade Chicken Pot Pie, the Pasta Bolognese, the Filet…

Our server, Cindy, first took our drink orders (thank you, mom, for making that a comical series of events!), and then advised of us the evening’s side dish options (mashed potatoes or brown rice, and broccolini).  When Cindy went to take our dinner orders, I advised her that I couldn’t make up my mind.  I handed her my SOW card, and asked her to surprise me.  I also told her that all of the side dishes were fair game. Cindy was a good sport, asked a couple of questions , and then moved on to place our order. She had a big smile as she walked away from the table (a sure sign she knew what she wanted to serve me!)

My dad, my uncle and I started with the Stuffed  Banana Peppers (stuffed with Italian Sausage, mozzarella and parmesan cheese and served in the homemade marinara sauce (the DELICIOUS house marinara sauce!)).  The appetizer is not overly spicy, but it does have great flavor!

Stuffed Banana Peppers

Stuffed Banana Peppers

 

When Cindy brought the entrées out, she delivered me a perfectly cooked filet mignon over mashed potatoes and served with broccolini.  As I mentioned, the filet was expertly prepared, and the entrée was delicious!

Filet Mignon

Filet Mignon

I’m not usually one to dive into dessert, and if I do,when I go to a Gavi’s property, I generally will only order Tiramisu for dessert.  (It’s a fantastic recipe!)  On Friday night, however, I was mesmerized by the lemon-raspberry mousse bomb.  It sounded so light and refreshing.  I tend to love citrus flavored desserts anyhow!

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Lemon-raspberry mousse bomb

 

While we were a bit surprised by the (raspberry-filled) cake inside the mousse bomb, I have to say that the dessert was wonderful!  Light and refreshing – just as I had suspected.

Inside the bomb!

Inside the bomb!

My family enjoyed various desserts and coffee / after-dinner drinks.  It was a great dinner, from start to finish!

Thank you to Cindy and the staff at Sara’s Place for always treating our family to a lovely evening out and a delicious meal!

If you’re in the NE OH area, I suggest visiting Sara’s Place for dinner sometime.  You may be inclined to see a show at the Gates Mills Community Players Theater across the street, or to shop at the boutique next door.  This little Gates Mills area is so quaint and cute that it’s worth the visit!

Cheers!

Ker

Ant Ordered What? (Guest post!)

What’s happenin’ everyone? No, I’m not Ker Kilbourne. I’m Ant Pruitt. I hope you’re doing well. I’m unbelievable as always. This is “She Ordered What?”. A site I enjoy reading because the li’l lady pops into restaurants around the world, and tasks her server with ordering her meals on her behalf. It’s totally off the cuff, and leads to her being served interesting and tasty dishes. I give her credit on this because she has been able to discover some dishes that may be off the beaten path. Not just a standard “grilled salmon over rice.” I’m going to take this opportunity and guest post, if she’ll have me. (grins)

(Kerri here: I LOVE that Ant surprised me with a guest post, and he knows full well that I will absolutely post anything he writes!  Ant is one of my dear and beloved friends – with great talent online, be it photography, podcasts, or writing.  I’m thrilled to post his article about his experience!)

Recently, I’ve been fortunate enough to have some amazing blessings in my professional life and in my hobby world. By day, I’m an IT analyst that stares at SQL and application code all day. By night and all times in between, my hobbies include online technology commentary as well as smartphone photography commentary and podcasting. On the week of October 21st, I was able to make a trip out to Seattle and Bellevue, Washington. I was blessed with a contract to create content on a new website (sponsored by HTC), which includes my smartphone photography commentary. I looked forward to this (my first) trip to Seattle to see the area, HTC campus, and to eat some damn good food.  Not to mention, tasting the local brews.

Upon getting to my hotel, I had to get in a quick workout, then load up on some protein and local brew. The very attractive Nine O Bar and Grill is inside the Silver Cloud hotel. I sat at the bar and asked my waiter for a glass of milk, (Kerri here again – Only Ant would order milk at a bar and probably garner a flirty grin from the bartender!)  and when I was done, I’d like to try a local brew she suggests.  She suggested African Amber by Mac and Jack’s Brewing in Redmond, WA. Good call, Karina. Good call.

 As I enjoyed the brew, I took a snapshot to work on my photography skills. No. It’s not food porn, sorry.

 

Photo credit: Ant Pruitt

Image credit: Ant Pruitt

So launch day arrives. After a night of tossing and turning in my bed, I was driven over to the HTC campus in Bellevue. I met some great people, put in some work before we hit the “launch” button, and discussed more plans with my colleagues of “aNewDomain”. Launch day of the site BreakingModern was a great success! Everyone was thrilled. And the end of the day meant some celebrating with colleagues, food, and brew.

Our driver, Zola, was an Ethiopian college student. When the topic of dinner came up, he was all over us with the an Ethiopian venue he loves. Sure! Why not? Our ride to downtown Seattle landed us at Wonder Sports Bar.

Ok, I had my trepidation as it was called a “sports bar.” But I found that it was a move of marketing genius on the owner’s part. Interest in Wonder was slow originally. Really slow. So it rebranded itself into Wonder Sports Bar. Nothing really changed, other than putting burgers on the menu. Since then, the restaurant has been doing much better with increased traffic and local enjoying authentic Ethiopian cuisine. (Ker here:  LOVE this!  Way to generate foot traffic and keep the place going.)

I looked at the menu and immediately knew I wanted lamb, but our server (the owner) said she’d like to treat us family-style. So as we waited on our food, we all check our phone messages for the day since we were so focused with the launch. (Ker: Nerd alert! 😉 )

 

Image credit: Dan

Image credit: Dan Patterson

(Ker: That’s Ant in the upper right corner.  He refers to himself as the “large, angry black man”. So completely not true!)

We were handed a piping hot platter of food which included Kay Watt (spicy lamb), Yemisir Watt (green lentils), Kitfo (Ethiopian Steak), Yesiga Alicha (mild lamb) and Injera (Ethiopian bread).  I washed the AMAZING food down with another local brew called Men’s Room by Elysian Brewing. Another fine brew from the state of Washington. There’s something about sitting on a comfy couch with a brew, a big platter of grub and eating it WITH YOUR HANDS. Nope. No forks or knives.  Great experience.  (Ker here: This immediately reminded me of my fantastic experience at a Southeast Indian restaurant in Singapore – eating off of banana leaves – such a cool experience!).

 

Image credit: Ant Pruitt

Image credit: Ant Pruitt

I hope I didn’t embarrass Ker with my post quality. I’m not as eloquent as she is, and it shows in my writing sometimes. At any rate, I enjoyed my visit to Seattle and enjoyed sharing my grubbing/brew experience with her readers.

Thanks for reading and here comes the shameless self-promotion. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and check out aNewDomain for tech news and commentary, then check out BreakingModern for your random commentary about day-to-day life topics. Thanks again. – Ant

(Kerri: Thank you so much, Ant.  I really enjoyed reading about your experiences in Washington!  I can’t believe you are the man who just a year ago had NEVER BEEN ON A PLANE!! You are making the most of your experiences, and I’m truly happy for you!  Cheers – to more glorious travel and exciting experiences! – Ker)

99 yummy posts on the blog, 99 yummy posts…

In case you missed the goofy reference, I was channeling “99 bottles of beer on the wall”.  I’m kind of excited to approach a couple of milestones: 100 posts on this blog, and 25,000 views.

I know, small potatoes for many bloggers, but this is my side project, and one with a fairly narrow scope – so, I’m not looking for thousands of views per post.  I’m quite happy with the wonderful people who take time to read about my experiences.  So, thank you!

Since I won’t be eating anything very interesting in the near-term – because I decided to endure my first full-body detox/cleanse, starting last week, and ending at the end of November (before Thanksgiving and my second trip to Clemson this season), I’ve asked folks if anyone would like to write a guest post for “She Ordered What?”‘s 100th post.

My friend, SweetPhi, offered up her talents.  She recently attended ChoppedCon in Kansas City, and I suspect she has a story or two to share about the experience(s).  😉

In the year or so since I met Phi, we’ve had some really fun and pretty cool experiences.  Also, her blog has TAKEN OFF!  She’s really spent a lot of time and effort growing SweetPhi to become a food blog that partners with some great companies, and reaches the masses. Kudos to you, girl!

Phi and I originally met through a small Facebook group she started to bring together Milwaukee food bloggers.  That’s probably one of the traits about Phi that immediately drew me to her.  We both reach out to people and we hang on to those we really enjoy.  We also support each other – whether it be in terms of daily life, special events, or on our blogs.  I appreciate Phi!

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That brings me to the latest fun event in our friendship.  On her blog, and through one of her awesome partnerships with Pig of the Month, Phi was planning an epic BBQ giveaway.  Of course, being a Southern educated woman, I HAD to comment!  I mean, BBQ is a “Southern thang”.

Fast-forward approximately three weeks, and I get this text: “Girl! Omg!!!!!!!!!!!!! You were randomly selected as the winner of the bbq giveaway!”

What?!?!

SCORE!!!!

Fast-forward another week or so, and I had a huge box marked “perishable” at my front door.

Folks, these were the contents of that beloved box!

Pig of the Month Prize Pack

Pig of the Month Prize Pack

Oh, dear gosh…can I tell y’all how extremely excited I was first to hear that I won this prize, and secondly, to SEE the prize?? My box *slightly* deviated from the description in the link above, but not much!  I received six racks of ribs (2x Memphis style, 2x BBQ ribs w/ sauce, 1x dry rub, and 1x Key West style), 2 lbs of pulled pork in BBQ sauce, 1lb of pulled chicken in sauce, and brisket! Holy pig!!!

Sadly, I had to pull these beautiful packages out from the dry ice-packed cooler that was sent to my door and put them directly into my freezer.  I kid you not…this incredible prize pack came on the first night I started aforementioned cleanse/detox.  But, rest assured, I plan to host a great party at which my friends and I will ENJOY this Pig of the Month package.  I’m confident that this will make for a wonderful meal (or two+).

So, many thanks to Phi, not only for her friendship, but also for the wonderful BBQ prize pack, and for offering to guest post the 100th post on “She Ordered What?”.  Please stay tuned for her post here, and check out her awesome blog – GREAT recipes and occasional giveaways that you don’t want to miss!

Cheers!

Ker

 

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